Oats vs Oatmeal: The Differences You Should Know

​​There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the terms “oats” vs “oatmeal.” Are they the same thing? If not, what’s the difference? Well, no, they don’t mean the same thing.

While it’s true that they are similar in many ways: for instance, they’re both made from oats, they’re rich in fiber and other nutrients, and they’ve been linked to health benefits like lower cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of heart disease. There are still some key differences between them.

Please read on if you’d like to know more about these cereal grains. 

What Are Oats?

They are a type of cereal grain harvested from annual grasses in the Avena genus. They’re considered whole grains because they retain the original kernel’s germ, endosperm, and bran (outer layer).

Oats have a nutty flavor and chewy texture. They can be eaten whole, rolled, or crushed into flour and are a good source of fiber and other nutrients. They are also a popular ingredient in breakfast cereals, granola bars, and oatmeal cookies and are widely used as a breakfast meal.

In addition, oats are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They’ve been linked to numerous health benefits, including lower cholesterol levels, clearer skin, and a reduced risk of heart disease.

SEE: If You Can Freeze Oat Milk

What Is Oatmeal?

Oatmeal is made from oats that have been rolled or crushed into flakes. It can be enjoyed plain or cooked in water or milk to make a hot cereal.

It is a popular breakfast cereal; it’s easy to prepare and can be made by cooking oats in water or milk. It’s also filling and can be flavored with various toppings, such as fruits, nuts, honey, milk, and spices.

Moreover, oatmeal is rich in fiber and very beneficial to health.

Do Oats vs Oatmeal Mean the Same Thing?

No, they don’t. Oats are a type of whole grain that is harvested from the Avena sativa plant. Once harvested, they can be processed into oatmeal or oats bran. Conversely, oatmeal is made by grinding the oats into a fine powder, while oats bran is made by separating the bran (outer layer) from the oats.

Nutritionally, both oat bran and oatmeal are excellent sources of fiber. They are also low in calories and contain a good amount of protein. Oats bran is slightly higher in fiber than oatmeal, but both options provide around 4 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup serving.

In terms of vitamins and minerals, oats bran and oatmeal are both good sources of iron and magnesium. When it comes to texture, oat bran is slightly more chewy than oatmeal. Also, it has a nuttier flavor, while oatmeal tastes more neutral.

So, Which Is Better, Oats vs Oatmeal? 

To be candid, oats are better because they have a higher fiber content than oatmeal. However, in the end, you get to make the final choice based on your preference.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Oats are whole grain, while oatmeal is made from ground oats.
  • They can be eaten raw or cooked, while oatmeal is best eaten when cooked.
  • They take longer to cook than oatmeal.
  • Both foods are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

The better one between the two will depend on your preference. If you’re short on time, oatmeal may be the better choice. Oats may be the way to go if you’re looking for something to chew.

Ultimately, both are healthy choices.

Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal

Oats vs oatmeal is a favorite in many homes; they are nutrient-packed and have evidence-based health benefits. Here are some of them:

1. Lowering cholesterol levels

High amounts of bad cholesterol (LDL) can cause clogged arteries, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes, among other heart problems.

Fortunately, adding oats to your diet can help lower your bad cholesterol (and make your blood pressure go down), which can help keep heart problems at bay.

2. Aids in weight loss

Oats have a lot of fiber, which fills you up faster than breakfasts with less fiber. They also cause a slow release of glucose in the blood, which can keep you from overeating.

People who eat oats often tend to keep their weight stable and are less likely to become obese. Oats, especially plain oats, can also help you get rid of belly fat.

3. Oats protect your body against celiac disease

Celiac disease is your body’s immune reaction to consuming gluten. It mostly affects the small intestine and makes it hard for your body to get the nutrients it needs from food. 

Because of this, the disease can be very dangerous and cause inflammation. Thankfully, plain oats don’t have gluten, so you have nothing to worry about.

SEE: Five Guys’ Gluten-Free Menu

4. It reduces the risk of cancer 

Oats are packed with lignans, which fight hormonal changes that can lead to ovarian, breast, and prostate cancers. Because it’s rich in vitamin C and many healthy antioxidants, it can easily ward off free radicals that cause cancer.

In addition, oatmeal has an abundance of avenanthramides, which are unique chemicals that fight inflammation and slow down the growth of cancer cells without hurting healthy cells.

5. Provides lasting energy throughout the day

Oats are full of carbs, making them a great breakfast choice. They also contain B vitamins which play an essential role in helping your body function properly. 

B vitamins positively impact your energy levels, cell metabolism, and brain function and can help your body fight infections. Also, since oats have a lot of fiber, you’ll feel fuller for longer, and your energy will not drop very quickly.

6. Helps your dry skin

Oats have naturally occurring antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can improve your skin. They can also be added to your shampoo as ingredients to make your hair silky, soft, and strong. 

In addition, oats have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are very beneficial for your skin. For instance, face masks made of oats and honey are often used to nourish and moisturize dry skin. And they can soak up oil on your skin to help eliminate acne.

So, it’s safe to add this versatile grain, oats, to your skin care regimen to get healthy and clear skin.

7. Promotes a balanced diet

Oats are a healthy part of a well-balanced diet. They contain thiamine, riboflavin, iron, folic acid, calcium, and phosphorous, all of which help us stay physically fit and strong.

It also has as much or more nutrition than fruits and vegetables and can help you achieve a balanced diet.

8. Stabilizing blood sugar levels

Diabetes can be very dangerous and lead to many problems, including death if it is not taken care of properly. Luckily, oats can help prevent diabetes, and it has complex carbs that can slow down the rate at which your body breaks down sugar.

Also, oats have a low glycemic index and can help people with diabetes manage their condition better. It also doesn’t trigger your existing health issues and can reduce the need for insulin injections.

9. Oats are full of fiber and have a lot of antioxidants

Eating oats protects against heart disease because they have lignans in them. The presence of fiber, vitamin E, and antioxidants in them fights off free radicals, thereby improving the state of your heart. 

In addition, beta-glucan, a soluble fiber found in oats, lowers total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, making it harder for the body to absorb cholesterol from food. In turn, this makes it less likely to cause heart disease.

SEE: Tasty Meals on Arby’s Gluten-Free Menu


Can eating raw oats hurt you?

No, it cannot hurt you. Whether raw, less-cooked, or even soaked in juice, it’s all up to you and safe to consume.

Must you cook oatmeal?

No, it’s not compulsory. However, if you prefer to eat it raw, you must ensure it’s soaked before consuming it to avoid digestibility issues.

Should you add raw oats to your smoothie?

Yes, you can. Generally, raw oats have more resistant starch compared to cooked oats. And it’s a good thing because it helps feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. 

SEE: If You Can Freeze Oat Milk


If you enjoy having oats for breakfast, count yourself lucky because it has lots of health benefits. Also, you can now tell that though oats vs oatmeal have many things in common, they don’t actually mean the same thing. 

So, go ahead and enjoy your oats as you like, either raw or spiced up with yogurt and any fruit of your choice. The best part is it’s gluten-free and has high nutritional value.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Cheffist to learn more about oats and other beverages.